Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us »
Canvey running star Jessica Judd backs campaign to restore running track
11:50am Wednesday 18th September 2013 in News
A CAMPAIGN has been launched to restore a dilapidated running track.
The rundown track behind Waterside Farm Leisure Centre, in Somnes Avenue, Canvey, has been officially out of action for years due to its poor condition.
Now, former Canvey woman Jane Dobson, 25, has started a petition calling on Castle Point Council to refurbish the facility for schools and running and athletics clubs to use.
Ms Dobson, who competed in county championships as a teenager, backed a campaign to save the running track when it was under threat ten years ago.
She said: “The running track has been there for a long time, but it is in such poor condition now.
“The lines are faded, the surface is in a bad state and the long jump pit is unusable. It just needs completely redoing.
“We have had several worldclass athletes from Canvey.
“If school pupils on the island had a chance to train there, we could have a lot more coming through.”
More than 100 people have already signed the petition calling for improvements.
Canvey running sensation Jessica Judd has also pledged her support to the campaign.
She wrote on the e-petition: “I have often gone over to Waterside to train and actually found it was impossible to train there due to the bad state of the track.
“It is now black instead of tartan and I actually got blisters all over my feet when doing a session there.
“Adding to this is the fact there are no lights on the track, and I feel it is extremely dangerous.
“I have had to travel to Basildon and Chelmsford to run and have only been able to do that because my dad drove me there because I cannot drive.
“Numerous times I have been caught in unbelievable traffic trying to get to these external running tracks, and know that after a while some people would find this too much.
“How many people do you think are slipping through the net because of this?
“People in the Benfleet and Canvey area should be able to run at Waterside, not travel miles.
“So please, for the sake of the community, refurbish the track.”
Waterside Farm Leisure Centre was reopened to the public last month after a £5.4million revamp, but the running track was not included.
The council says there was not enough funding to include the track in the refurbishment.
A spokeswoman said: “Due to its poor condition, the council has not hired out the running track for some years and has no plans to improve it.
“The facility was not considered for refurbishment as part of the Waterside project as funds were limited and those available were therefore directed towards the most popular activities undertaken at Waterside.
“Now the refurbishment has been completed, the council will be looking to develop a management plan for the outside recreational area, which will include the use of the running track.
“The council will shortly be commencing work on its leisure and recreation strategy, which will include public consultation.”
Comments are closed on this article.